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Informant testifies FBI paid him $23K in bomb plot probe

FILE - This file photo provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Jerry Varnell, of Sayre, Okla. Varnell, charged with trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb outside an Oklahoma City bank, is standing trial in federal court. Jury selection begins Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in the trial of Varnell, who pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted use of an explosive device and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors say an undercover FBI agent thwarted Varnell's plan to detonate a vehicle bomb in August 2017. (Oklahoma Department of Corrections via AP, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A man charged with trying to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound (450-kilogram) bomb outside an Oklahoma City bank is standing trial in federal court.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of Jerry Varnell, who pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted use of an explosive device and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

Prosecutors say Varnell planned to detonate a vehicle bomb Aug. 12, 2017, but the FBI learned of the plan and an undercover agent posing as someone who could help construct the device provided inert materials.

Defense attorneys argue that Varnell was entrapped.

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The judge has prohibited prosecutors from showing jurors a video of a similar bomb exploding, but will allow photos and testimony about the potential damage it could cause.

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